Lose weight? Live longer? Maybe your mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables. Fortunately, vegetables are an important component of the Atkins Nutritional Approach. Even in Induction, 12 to 15 grams daily of Net Carbs should come from up to six cups of salad and up to two cups of cooked vegetables (depending on which vegetables you choose). Your choices become even more plentiful as you move through subsequent phases of Atkins. Read on for more reasons why you need to eat your vegetables.
1) Vegetables help keep you full for longer. The fiber and water in vegetables fill you up way more efficiently than eating processed carbs that are deficient in fiber. Combining vegetables with protein and healthy fats will keep you satisfied until it’s time for your next meal.
2) Vegetables help prevent dips and spikes in your energy levels. Once again, the fiber in vegetables helps regulate your blood sugar. If you’re eating all your allotted vegetables each day, you shouldn’t experience that late-afternoon energy slump (and cravings for sugar) that you may encounter when eating processed carbohydrates.
3) Vegetables help you live longer. Numerous studies show that a diet rich in a variety of vegetables may help decrease the hardening of arteries, help lower cholesterol levels and help prevent inflammation, a component of many degenerative diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe the antioxidants (vitamins C and E, plus selenium and the carotenoids) may be partly responsible for this effect.
4) Vegetables are the ultimate food replacement. You can’t go wrong when you replace junk food and processed carbohydrates, which are typically full of unhealthy fats and deficient in nutrients, with nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, which contain fiber, antioxidants and vitamins.
5) Vegetables help you lose weight. Vegetables tend to be lower in calories, yet pack a way more powerful punch when it comes to keeping you healthy and full for longer. This all means you may tend to eat fewer calories, while still feeling satisfied, if not more satisfied, than when you rely on packaged foods and foods devoid of nutrients.
Your All-Day Vegetable Plan
Initially, it may seem like a challenge to incorporate vegetables into the majority of your meals or snacks, but you have many options for every part of the day. Here are some suggestions:
- Add spinach, scallions and a little tomato to your eggs and top with sliced avocado.
- Make a low-carb breakfast wrap using turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, spinach and avocado and wrap it all up in a leaf of romaine lettuce.
- Make ground beef hash by sautéing ground beef with scallions, red bell peppers and cheese.
- Chow on olives with a piece of cheese.
- Slather celery stalks with cream cheese.
- Wrap a couple slices of ham with a romaine lettuce leaf, add some mayo and cheddar cheese.
- Top slices of tomato and cucumber with tuna or chicken salad.
- Combine deli meat, cheese and mayo and roll up with a pickle or cucumber.
- Pile spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms on a plate, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and top with a sliced, grilled chicken breast.
- Top a tomato with cooked ground beef (seasoned with chili and cumin) and Mexican-blend cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbling.
- Experiment with your spinach salad; add different vegetables or dressings and top with grilled salmon, shrimp or steak.
- Stuff a half of a bell pepper with turkey or pork sausage, cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and top with grated cheese, no-sugar salsa, avocado or even a fried or poached egg.
- Grill a steak, serve with a side salad and mashed “potatoes” (cook and mash cauliflower instead of potatoes)
Visit http://www.atkins.ca/recipes to find more delicious recipes.
We’d love to hear your own ways for incorporating vegetables into your meal plan. Post your methods on our Facebook wall at: http://www.facebook.com/AtkinsDiet.